Executive Director/Co-Founder

Taryn has been an active professional in the dance industry for over eighteen years.   Taryn’s vision for Avanti Dance Company was to create a performing arts facility dedicated to excellence in artistry, technique and professionalism, which is evident in her own training and teaching philosophy.   With a forte in Jazz, Tap and Contemporary and strong integrity for precision and style, Taryn has been a sought after guest instructor/choreographer at many studios and high school dance programs.  Taryn’s choreography has been featured at the Student Dance Concert at UC Santa Barbara, Youth American Grand Prix Finals in New York, and has been recognized with many top placements at various regional and national competitions. 

Taryn performed professionally for over eight years as a company member for with “Rhapsody in Taps” under the direction of Linda Sohl-Ellison.  Although Taryn enjoys performing, her true happiness is found in choreographing, teaching and connecting with her students.  She loves to highlight the unique skill sets of each dancer she works with, while giving them new, unfamiliar movement to push them out of their comfort zone and reach new levels. 

Taryn encourages her students to believe in themselves and that anything can be achieved with passion, dedication and hard work.  Taryn’s students have gone on to obtain college dance scholarships and win prestigious awards such as the Music Center Spotlight Award and the Young Arts Scholarship.



Company Director

Nikki started dancing at the age of nine. She grew up in Orange County, where she trained in all styles of dance, with a concentration in commercial jazz, contemporary, ballet, and hip-hop. She competed for eight years where she earned many top regional and national placements and overall awards and was also a member of the El Toro High School Varsity Dance Team for three years where she also trained in cheer and pom.  

Nikki graduated from Chapman University with bachelor’s degree in Business and a Minor in dance.  During her time at Chapman, Nikki’s choreographic work was featured in several performances.  In 2017, Nikki completed an internship with The Movement Talent Agency (MTA), where she learned the inner workings of the dance industry and was signed for professional representation as a dancer with MTA shortly thereafter.  

Already a talented performer and strong technical dancer, Nikki has also proven to be a natural and gifted choreographer.  Her pieces are known for being unique and theatrical, consistently placed in the top overalls, earning many first overall placements at the regional and national level and judge’s awards for “Best Musicality and Choreography.”

As the Company Director, Nikki continues to bring her “A” game sharing her creativity and passion in everything she does. 



Mini Company Director

Jordan, an Orange County native, began dancing at the age of three. She has trained in all styles of dance with an emphasis on commercial dance. Jordan began competing in dance at the age of five and trained most of her youth years under the guidance of Taryn Chavez. Jordan’s last year competing as an elite Senior Performance Company member in 2018, earning a national championship win and several top placements with her team.

Jordan graduated from Cal State Long Beach with her BA in dance. She was part of the dance program all four of her years at Newport Harbor High School and had her choreography featured at the District Dance Festival, representing NHHS, in both her junior and senior years. 

Jordan teaches jazz, lyrical and technique and choreographs for Avanti’s performance company.  Her choreography has earned many top overall awards at the regional and national levels.

She is proud to teach at her home studio and loves to be a part of training the next generation of Avanti dancers.  Jordan brings her own style while still staying true to the principles of the training and technique she has learned at ADC.




Michael Houston received his first 10 years of training from former principle dancers at the acclaimed Houston Ballet and San Antonio Ballet. Supplemental training over the next 15 years includes workshops, master classes and private coaching from world renowned ballet masters from Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi, Kirov, and Joffrey Ballet.

As principle dancer with Ballet Repertory Theatre, Michael’s stage performances include: Grand Pas de Deux’s from Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, Flower Festival, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Black Swan, Grand Pas Classique, Satanella, and Esmeralda. Full length Ballet Lead roles include Coppelia, La Bayadere, Paquita, Les Sylphides, and Nutcracker.

During Mr. Houston’s tenure as Owner/Director/Trainer at Orange County Dance Center from 1994-2012, students received professional contracts to Pacific Northwest Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Ballet West, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Ballet Austin, Ballet Pacifica, American Repertory Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Complexions and Cirque de Soleil. Michael’s students have received national training scholarships from ABT, Jacqueline Onassis School, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet, The Rock School, SAB, Kirov Academy, Joffrey New York, Boston Ballet, Julliard, Ballet West in addition to contracts and performances with Alvin Ailey,  Alberta Ballet (Canada), Boston Ballet 2, Julliard Dance Ensemble/European Tour, The Metropolitan Opera New York, Dancing With The Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Radio City Rockettes and Mia Michaels.

Mr. Houston’s original choreography includes writing and directing all phases of an original 3 act Ballet, (under copyright), “Corazones de Espana,” full length Nutcracker, sections of Romeo and Juliet, Alice in Wonderland, and the restaging of many others. Last year Mr. Houston was acknowledged for his ballet training in dance articles in both Pointe and Capezio magazine respectively.

We are truly honored to have Michael Houston joining us at Avanti and sharing his incredible training and expertise as a top professional in the ballet industry with our students.




Noelle Lee is the youngest of 3 ballet dancers in her family and began dancing at the age of 2.    She learned many varying styles of dance from Ballet, to Hip-Hop, and even Scottish Highland.  At the age of 7, her family moved to Orange County, and she decided to focus on ballet. 

From 2010-2017, she trained at Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy where she studied ballet under the direction of Dmitiri and Jennifer Kulev; while there, she also studied jazz, tap, and contemporary under the guidance of Taryn Chavez and many others.

At the age of 16, Noelle studied at the Dutch National Ballet Academy in Amsterdam as a Trainee.  The following year she trained at the European School of Ballet in Amsterdam under the guidance of Jean-Yves Esquerre, Christiane Marchant, and Olivier Wecxsteen.

Noelle discovered the importance of cross-training both her mind and body at an early age after seeing the strains that ballet can have on a person.  Whether it is a different style of dance, ballet technique, or a new sport, she always found that learning new ways to train her body helped her in ballet.  Noelle has been awarded scholarships and attended numerous national and international summer intensives which allowed her to expand her knowledge even further; these include American Ballet Theater, School of American Ballet, Dresden Semperoper Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, and International Baller Masterclasses in Prague. 

She is proud to be teaching at Avanti where the environment not only grants students the ability and confidence to learn new things, but also encourages them to do so.



Technique, Contemporary

Sophia Lucia, Dance Prodigy, Guinness World Record Holder, YouTube Sensation, Entrepreneur, and Educator, loves to dance and strives each day to be the best she can be by pushing her and her students abilities to the limit.

Sophia started dancing at the young age of two at San Diego Dance Centre in Poway, CA and is now teaching dance all around the world and is one of the most exciting talents in the industry. She is trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Ballroom, and Contemporary. Sophia moved to Scottsdale, Arizona at the age of twelve to train with Master Ballet Academy and later danced with the Phoenix Ballet. A year later, Sophia and her dance partner, Jack Beckham, took home the Gold Medal at Varna International Ballet Competition representing the USA. Being the youngest to compete at Varna IBC, she was awarded with a Special Bounty Partnership Award. Sophia and her partner went on and received a Silver and Gold Medal at YAGP nationals in New York City. She then made her acting debut in Hallmark’s “A Nutcracker Christmas,” portraying a young ballerina with aspirations to become a prima ballerina. During her time filming, she continued to train and dance with the National Ballet of Canada. Since her young success in the dance industry, she’s had the honor to performing and teaching worldwide.

Sophia’s focus and determination has lead her to excel in her career. She set the Official Guinness World Record of 55 Consecutive Pirouettes at just ten years old. She has a partnership with Capezio and created her own shoe called Turning Pointe 55 by Sophia Lucia that is sold worldwide. She has earned several National Champion Dance Titles, such as The Dance Awards’s Best Dancer. From a young age, she has been featured in numerous television shows such as ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ Disney’s hit show ‘Shake it Up,’  ‘X-Factor,’ Nickelodeon’s ‘Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn’ and ‘America’s Got Talent,’ plus several talk shows like ‘The Ellen Show’ and ‘The Ricki Lake Show,’ to name a few. She made her film debut in 2010 as child star icon, Shirley Temple in the Fox Legacy Movie “The Shirley Temple Story”.

Sophia’s ability to not only captivate an audience with her artistry, but inspire others with her teaching style is truly profound. She has formed a passion for teaching and has been all over the country working for dance conventions, such as; Art of Movement, Celebrity Dance Conventions, KAR conventions, Break the Floor. Sophia strives to be the best role model and teacher she can be for her students, and is a fantastic mentor. Her performances have catapulted her to internet stardom and taken her across the world to do what she loves most, dance.




Technique, Jazz, Mini Movers

Natalie grew up in Orange County and started dancing at the age of five.  She has trained in all styles under the guidance of Taryn Chavez, whom she trained with for more than thirteen years, and danced competitively for the same.  Natalie, known for her amazing stage presence was an elite company member at AVANTI for seven seasons and completed her last year competing earning a top five placement at Radix Nationals.

Natalie is well versed in ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap and hip hop.  Her passion and dedication made her an easy choice to start assisting classes at young age, later teaching her own classes where she has been a beloved faculty member since 2020.

Natalie is both a very talented dancer and choreographer and works primarily with our Mini Company.

Natalie is currently attending Orange Coast College. We are excited to announce that she will be joining the Laker Girls as one of their newest dancers for the 2023-2024 season!  Go Miss Nat! 



Hip Hop 

Like most dancers, Chadd started his love for dance at an early age watching Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalker”. During junior high Chadd discovered his love for hip hop through breaking and popping. In high school he committed four years to the dance program understanding choreography and learning how to perform. Through those four years he decided that this was his passion and he never looked back. Chadd entered the community in 2005 becoming a member of Team Millenia, a hip hop dance organization founded in 1998. Chadd had the honor of working with such choreographers as Courtney Miller Jr., Super Dave, Fatima and Debbie Allen. Some of Chadd’s professional accolades include dancing for both Raven Symone and Jessica Simpson. In 2007 he left the audition scene to focus on his other loves, playing music and teaching dance.
As dance instructor Chadd has taught at several southern California studios and was formerly on faculty at Orange County School of the ARTS (OCSA) in the Commercial Dance Department. Along with forming the group “Nobility Mob”, an all male performing group, Chadd is also part of the BoogieZone family as an official member of Breed, a professional exhibition dance company and an instructor at BoogieZone Utopia.
When he is not teaching or dancing himself, Chadd is very involved in the music community. Chadd formed his own cover band in addition he is an active DJ something which spun off from his love of the hip hop culture. With the help of his business partner, he started a mobile DJ business called Live 2 DJ. He also produces custom music and mixes for dancers, professional choreographers, and fitness instructors. Chadd prides himself on being a universal DJ, playing anything from top 40s, old school hip hop, funk, disco, and EDM. He utilizes his turntables whenever possible by scratching and making mixing exciting. His influences are DJ Jazzy Jeff, Grand Master Flash, DJ Scratch, Mix Master Mike, and Jam Master Jay. One thing that continues to draw Chadd to DJing is the performance aspect of rocking a party and getting people dancing and enjoying the music.



Contemporary, Choreography,

College Advisor

Azuki Umeda, born in Tokyo, Japan, raised in San Jose, CA. She received her BFA in Dance and BA in Integrated Educational Studies at Chapman University. She currently holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance at CSU Long Beach. She has had opportunities as an artist-in-residence at Chapman University and Indiana University—Bloomington.

Azuki’s professional career includes dancing for Twenty-One Pilots’ virtual concert, FINNEAS’s music video, “Shelter,” and was recently featured in STEEZY’s 3 choreographers 1 song segment. She had the opportunity to present work in various festivals such as Capezio ACE Awards, World of Dance, Palm Desert Choreographic Festival, American College Dance Association, and will be one of the Choreographic Fellows at Jacob’s Pillow 2023 program.

Azuki is the founder of her own company, AU.THENTICITY DANCE CO. and will present her first evening-length show in February 2024.

We are thrilled to have Azuki at AVANTI sharing her passion, unique style and educational expertise with our students.


Hip Hop 

Ethan Bloem, is a multi-talented dancer with a choreography and freestyle focus. He has performed on national television with NBC’s World of Dance, danced in live shows and music videos with numerous artists. Ethan is a creative director, choreographer, and industry dancer who has been working to better himself and his craft since the age of ten. He began training locally in San Diego and grew quickly by jumping at all learning opportunities, the work ethic he has in his dance career is strongly reflected in his love for teaching.



Hip Hop, Contemporary, Jazz, Mini Movers

Mikayla has been dancing since the age of three. She is trained in all styles of dance and was a very successful competitive dancer completing her journey as an Elite Performance Company member at Avanti.

Mikayla was a True Performer and touring assistant with Intrigue Dance Convention where she had the opportunity to travel with Intrigue to over a dozen cities across the US. She is known for her beautifully unique movement quality and strong contemporary dancing which has earned her top placements both as a dancer but also for her choreographic work.

Mikalya has been on faculty at Avanti since 2020 where she has taught all styles and levels and is currently choreographing for Avanti’s performance company.

Mikayla is currently pursuing dance professionally while also attending Orange Coast College for nursing.


Lyrical, Jazz, Ballet, Mini Movers

Abigail began her dance training at a Capital City Dance Studio in Iowa at the age of seven where she studied tap, ballet, lyrical, and hip hop. Her family moved to CA when she was eleven where she spent a year exploring dance studios in Orange County. From the age of thirteen she trained exclusively in ballet and performed with the Maple Conservatory Dance Company. She spent her summer breaks attending Maple’s Summer Intensive program and the “Summer in the Arts” Dance Program at UCI.

In 2017, she joined Avanti Dance Company as an Elite Performance Company Member and in her first season dancing with Avanti, Abigail earned a national championship win with ADC Performance Company.

In 2019 Abigail transitioned to a faculty member where she has been “living her dream” teaching and choreographing with her students earning many top placements. Abigail is currently attending Vanguard University majoring in liberal studies and obtaining her teaching credentials simultaneously. Abigail is also a member of Vanguard’s competitive dance team and sideline team. Abigail feels lucky to have had so many mentors who have modeled for her a love for dance!


Ballet, Acro, Technique, Jazz

Mary, a seasoned dancer/performer, is an incoming sophomore at Chapman University in Orange, California, where she is a double major in Dance and Communication Studies. Mary grew up dancing at Sunshine Dance, a studio outside Chicago, Illinois. She is currently a lead assistant with Dupree Dance Convention and Competition. Mary is so thankful for the tremendous guidance her dance teachers and mentors have provided her through the years. She is super excited to begin this new journey with AVANTI and share her passion for teaching with her students!



Theresa has been teaching gymnastics for over 35 years and is a certified Acrobatics Arts Instructor.  Theresa started out as a young gymnast herself training with Cathy Rigby Gymnastics Center in Mission Viejo where she competed throughout her high school years.  Theresa started teaching gymnastics at the young age of 15 and became an assistant team coach at the age of 18 in artistic gymnastics. 

Theresa later started a 20-year career in law enforcement while continuing to teach tumbling skills to dancers in Orange County.  Her students have competed many top dance competitions including Showstoppers, Starpower, MOVE and other prestigious dance competitions.  

Many of Theresa’s former students have gone on to become professional dancers/performers using their tumbling skills to land them in professional companies/shows such as Momix Dance Company, Broadway and Cirque shows. 

 Theresa also has 2 daughters who are level 10 and level 7 Nationally ranked gymnasts.



Suzanna Varela was born and raised in Orange County, California. She began her dance journey with Cecchetti Ballet and Hip Hop at a small dance studio in Santa Ana, CA. Suzanna was a competitive gymnast most of her life until she decided to pursue dance as a career. She dove deeper into dance when she joined Santa Ana College’s dance program, where Suzanna trained under Heather Gillette, Leann Alduenda, Joshua Romero-Estrada, Amanda White and Jennifer Allgaier. She was a part of Santa Ana College’s outreach Dance Touring Ensemble (DTE) for two years before graduating with her AA in dance. In 2020 Suzanna transferred to Arizona State University where she experienced community based dance as well as many cultural styles. ASU exposed her to creative improvisation as well as, Break-dancing, Bulgarian folk, Turkish belly dance, Post-modern contemporary, latin social dancing and partner work. At ASU Suzanna worked closely alongside; B-Boy House (Jorge Magana), Nicole Bradley-Browning and Mary Fitzgeralds. During her time at ASU Suzanna performed in over 5 shows with choreography by fellow undergraduate, graduate students and professors. Before graduating in 2023 with a B.F.A. in Dance Education, she worked side by side with Tracy Puddy (creator of SEED Fitness) as her mentor for teaching dance in the high school setting. After graduating Suzanna came back to Southern California in hopes of giving back to her community with her knowledge and passion for dance and teaching. 

ALI PFLEGER (Contemporary/Choreography)

Ali was born and raised in the costal city of Newport Beach, California. She began dancing at the age of 9. At age 13, Ali began apprenticing for a professional dance company based out of LA, called MusEffect, under the direction of Jessica Starr. She attributes her growth in dance to being thrown into a company where the majority of the dancers were around 6 years older than her. She was the youngest member ever inducted into the company. Ali attended Orange County High School of the Arts as a major in Commercial Dance, until she’d chose the online education route in order to more seriously pursue her dance career. She is currently a member of V Mo, an internationally ranked hip hop company under the direction of Danyel Moulton.

Ali prides herself on her diverse training and exploration of such a wide array of dance styles that has greatly attributed to her own movement and teaching style. She assisted Intrigue Dance Intensive’s 2016-2017 tour, and through this opportunity, Ali found a love for education and creation that she is continuing to pursue. Over the past couple years, she has taught and choreographed throughout the United States, as well as Canada and Costa Rica. Most recently, Ali had the opportunity to produce, direct, and choreograph her own full-length show, “Maybe This Time” in the Spring of 2019. 


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